Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Doing it right: How a journal helped Ed Yong get a better story

with one comment

Ed Yong, courtesy Ed Yong

Ed Yong, courtesy Ed Yong

Yesterday, Ed Yong began a series of tweets as follows:

For this story, I sent Nature paper to Henrich for comment. He said he had paper showing same thing out in 2wks (1/3) http://www.nature.com/news/bigger-groups-mean-complex-cultures-1.14158

Yong, for those few of you unfamiliar, is the prolific blogger and longform science journalist who brings the world such stories as “These Sea Slugs Penetrate Each Other In The Head During Sex.” His tweets caught my attention, and before I could find the time to ask him for details for a potential Embargo Watch post, he’d sent me this narrative, which I agree is a nice story:

I thought this was a nice story.

I got assigned by Nature to cover this paper on cultural evolution. As part of that, I contacted Joe Henrich, who works in the field, for an outside comment. We chat on the phone and he lets slip that he has his own paper, coming out in a couple of weeks time in Proc Roy Soc B, which says fundamentally the same thing.

Henrich called the Royal Society, pushing them to expedite the publication. They agreed.

Henrich told me with plenty of time so that I could cover both papers in the same story.

Usually, from experience, the scientist would refuse to comment about the paper for some fear of infringing on their own publication, or the journal wouldn’t cooperate in shifting the publication date, or maybe the journalist might not bother covering both. But in this case, everyone was flexible, I think the story’s much better for it.

Written by Ivan Oransky

November 14, 2013 at 10:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. This should be a dog-bites-man story, but instead it’s noteworthy when journals and researchers are simultaneously reasonable. We live in strange times.

    Bob Finn

    November 14, 2013 at 7:36 pm


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